How to Start a Pet Cemetery Business

Pet cemeteries give people a place to lay their beloved animals to rest. Owners may choose to offer a variety of services to pet owners, including formal burials or cremations.

Learn how to start your own Pet Cemetery Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.

Start a pet cemetery business by following these 10 steps:

  1. Plan your Pet Cemetery Business
  2. Form your Pet Cemetery Business into a Legal Entity
  3. Register your Pet Cemetery Business for Taxes
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  5. Set up Accounting for your Pet Cemetery Business
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Pet Cemetery Business
  7. Get Pet Cemetery Business Insurance
  8. Define your Pet Cemetery Business Brand
  9. Create your Pet Cemetery Business Website
  10. Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your pet cemetery business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Pet Cemetery Business Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability.

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your pet cemetery business?

Business Name Generator

What are the costs involved in opening a pet cemetery business?

Owners will need to secure land, licenses, and staff to operate their cemetery. Every city and state will have their own permits and local ordinances, so owners will have to check into their area's particular rules. Owners should do research into the cost of raw land in the general location they want to build their cemetery.

What are the ongoing expenses for a pet cemetery business?

Pet cemetery owners who do well will likely want to acquire additional land in order to accommodate the demand. They’ll also need to keep up with yearly licensing requirements, as well as staff, supplies, and marketing costs.

Who is the target market?

Theoretically, the market is for anyone who’s lost a pet. Business owners can offer a wide range of services at varying prices, so no pet owner will have to worry about their pet's eternal resting place. However, most people who visit a pet cemetery will have some degree of disposable income before considering the additional expenses.

How does a pet cemetery business make money?

Pet cemeteries charge a certain amount for each service or they offer popular packages to grieving owners. This can including anything from supplying flowers for the funeral to cremating the animal. Owners will charge clients more than the raw costs for each service in order to turn a profit.

How much can you charge customers?

A casket and a plot of land can run a customer up to $1,100, depending on the size of their pet. It costs about $135 to cremate a large dog (80+ pounds), or about $85 for a normal-sized dog. Personalized headstones can be anywhere from $30 to $80. Pet cemeteries should check into what similar services cost in their area before they set their prices. The more affluent areas may not bat an eyelash at a $500 plot, but a more blue-collar area may not have that type of spare income.

How much profit can a pet cemetery business make?

The cemetery business often gets a bad reputation because they take advantage of people during a difficult time, but the net profit margin is under 12%. This means if your sales are $250,000 for the year, you'll likely have around $30,000 to reinvest in the business.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Pet cemeteries can consider adding a crematorium to their business if they feel it’s a necessary service in their area.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your pet cemetery business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website. If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a pet cemetery business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

Certificate of Occupancy

A pet cemetery business is generally run out of a plot of land. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a pet cemetery business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your pet cemetery business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

FInd out what types of insurance your Pet Cemetery Business needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Pet Cemetery Business.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a pet cemetery business

The best way to promote a pet cemetery business is to develop relationships with the many animal professionals in the community. Most people who lose a pet will ask their vets for advice about what to do with the body. Just because a vet has been recommending a different pet cemetery doesn’t mean they aren’t open to a different business that can offer their clients more. In addition, owners can do both traditional (print, TV, radio, etc.) or online marketing to promote their business.

How to keep customers coming back

Hopefully people won’t need to use a pet cemetery very often, but it’s not unusual for an owner to bury a few pets throughout their lifetime. Owners need to be patient and understanding to each and every client they work with.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

Pet owner cemeteries should have an inherent love for animals. It helps them to understand exactly what a grieving individual or family is going through, which is pivotal to developing a good rapport and attracting new clients. Owners should also be comfortable with the concept of death and feel natural dealing with both the practical and emotional consequences of losing a pet.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a pet cemetery business?

Much of an owner’s day will usually be spent managing the grounds and talking to clients. Their activities may include any of the following:

  • Preparing plots
  • Communicating with customers
  • Maintaining the grounds
  • Performing administrative tasks
  • Performing formal burials
  • Managing the crematorium
  • Talking to vets or pet stores
  • General advertising/marketing

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful pet cemetery business?

Having some type of experience in a cemetery will be extremely helpful, whether it’s as a manager of a funeral parlor or as a gravedigger. These experiences give you a chance to witness the inside business behind death, which can make it easier to disassociate from it when necessary. Many of the business principles of a traditional death service can translate to a pet cemetery business. An MBA can also help owners deal with general time-management, financial, or expansion dilemmas while on the job.

What is the growth potential for a pet cemetery business?

Pet cemeteries are in many ways a luxury service, which will generally translates into the industry rising and falling with the state of the economy. Still, there are plenty of people out there who received priceless love and affection from their pets, which ultimately translates into a generous base market to get started.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a pet cemetery business?

Those who seek out a pet cemetery are usually the same people who spend thousands of dollars on veterinary bills. They buy health insurance for their pet, and a pet-store's worth of toys and gadgets throughout their pet's lifetime. They join multiple social media groups to discuss their pets and they post photos of themselves with their beloved companions on a regular basis. Cemetery owners will want to advertise in both local locations to generate the publicity they need to grow their business.

Pet cemetery owners should also concentrate on the primary purpose they serve. Ultimately, an animal-lover wants to show their companion the respect they deserve after they’ve passed away. They want a way to visit their pet and talk to them whenever they want. They may even want to pass down their love of the animal to another generation. As an owner, it's your job to show them how they can meet these goals by choosing your cemetery.

Owners who understand why an owner wishes to bury their pet in a cemetery will naturally be able to work with clients and offer them services they want. There are even ways to make mass burial graves a little less impersonal. For example, an owner might give the pet lover a biodegradable balloon to release during the cremation. Simply giving the grieving client the acknowledgment of what they’ve lost can go a long way to forging a positive presence in the community, despite the ostensible negative connotations of death.

How and when to build a team

Owners will need people to maintain the land, as well as handle administrative tasks and duties. While the entrepreneur may technically be able to handle this on their own (especially if they start off with a small plot of land), it may be difficult to keep up with the demand after a few months. Ideally, you should be building a team as soon as possible, and hiring people who have respect for both the animal kingdom and the clients.

Useful Links

Real World Examples

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